IN TERMS OF achievement, Ireland's recent Rugby history has been none too happy insofar as victory in the Triple Crown series has eluded the Irish since the balmy days of 1948 and 1949. However, in terms of performances, the Irish have done considerably better in recent years than ever before: six consecutive internationals were won and no other Irish side had managed to build such an impressively consistent record.
IT IS A MARK of the irrelevance of much of the modern Irish Church that whenever a crisis in the North erupts the Churches cease to be of paramount significance. In between crises the leaders of the Churches receive a great deal of publicity for their efforts to patch up wounds created by their ancestors. Such was certainly true when representatives of the four main Churches visited the BQgside and Fountain Street in Derry. Their reception was friendly on all sides and liberal newspapers hailed the visit as one of enormous significance.
AFTER THE FALL of the Jewish state of Palestine in the year 70, up to the fateful year of 1948 only two Jewish states were ever formed. One was in the Yemen in the sixth century and the other was on the Lower Volga and lasted for three centuries until 1000. During the Middle Ages Jews had formed tight, closely knit communities. But in the nineteenth century the movement towards cultural assimilation became much greater. Then in 1879 a tragic event took place. Bismarck for completely pragmatic reasons found it necessary to launch a campaign of anti-Semitism.
I WAS AT a dinner party the other night with some friends of mine who had been eager Labour Party campaign workers in the 1964 election and who had sweated for months to usher in the new dawn of the technological revolution then promised by Harold Wilson. Naturally, I twitted them with the present chaos of the Labour govcrnment and the widely accepted certainty of a Conservative administration after the next election.
THE CIVIL SERVANT has traditionally been a butt for humorists. It was easy to satirise the seemingly obsessive caution and avoidance of personal responsibility which the popular mind attributed to the civil servant, whose prime skills were represented as being a perverse pleasure in preventing members of the public from getting satisfaction and manipulation of files to keep the buck moving-together, of course, with an insatiable thirst for tea.
THE CHARACTER of the opposition has changed very much since the General Election. Prior to then the Nationalists controlled the predominantly Catholic rural areas and in Belfast Labour was the main opposition party. But now the position is very much different.
BELFAST has had many organised pogroms bcfore August 1969 whose main aim has been to dispossess Catholics of their houses and jobs and to intimidate them to a point which will encourage emigration. The political advantages of a successful pogrom are obvious, one of the main fears of Protestants being the Catholic birthrate. Of course there are other political advantages for those who rally the people from the street corners by organising campaigns of looting, burning and intimidation.
THE ANSWER to Paisley's rise in public favour lies, of course, to a large extent in his personality. But while every fascist movement similar to Paisleyism needs the dynamism and attraction of an intelligent demagogue, its source lies fund~entally in the political forces which give rise to the movement which the demagogue dominates.
"THE PROTESTANT PEOPLE of Ulster are seeing the wonderful works of God this very hour-Jesus stands among us-he has risen us up to fight the forces of Romanism and all its allies. "
"Our cause is righteous and is washed in the Blood of the Lamb." Shouts of " Glory" interspersed with low murmurs of" Praise the Lord."
THE SITUATION in the North is now more grave than it has ever been before. When trouble broke out in earlier decades it cost many lives but rapidly dwindled in intensity. For months now, despite a massive deployment of troops, trouble has continued and even spread. In August trouble was mainly confined to two areas of Belfast; the Falls Road area and the Ardoyne area. Since then the Antrim Road and the Ballymacarrett areas have become increasingly involved.